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Judge questioned ex-French President Hollande over murder of reporters in Mali

Judge questioned ex-French President Hollande over murder of reporters in Mali
FILE PHOTO: Former French president Francois Hollande leaves after a ceremony at the Elysee Palace to celebrate Paris as host for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, France, September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo   -   Copyright  CHARLES PLATIAU(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – A French judge has questioned former French President Francois Hollande as a witness as part of the investigation into the assassination of two journalists in Mali in 2013, a member of Hollande’s staff said on Monday.

Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont, both journalists at RFI radio, were kidnapped and killed in the northern town of Kidal on Nov. 2 2013 by suspected Islamist militants. Their bodies were recovered near the four-wheel drive vehicle used by the abductors.

Hollande and ex-chief of the DGSE external intelligence services Bernard Bajolet were questioned earlier this month and in December over statements the president had made in private to journalists that appeared to contradict the investigation.

France led a military campaign in January 2013 to clear Islamist militants from the north of the country after they threatened to invade the capital Bamako, an intervention that France described as largely successful.

The two reporters had been interviewing Tuareg separatists rebels before being kidnapped.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Emmanuel Jarry; writing by John Irish; editing by Michel Rose)

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